- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2008

The majority leader of Maryland’s House of Delegates pleaded guilty Thursday to driving under the influence of alcohol, promising a judge he would “never do this again.”

Delegate Kumar Barve, Montgomery County Democrat, apologized and received unsupervised probation as part of a plea agreement.

“I’m here to take full responsibility for my actions,” Mr. Barve said in Montgomery County District Court in Rockville.

His attorney, fellow Delegate Luiz Simmons, noted it was Mr. Barve’s first offense. “This was an atypical event that night,” said Mr. Simmons, also a Montgomery County Democrat.

Mr. Barve, 49, has completed a 26-week alcohol awareness class, Mr. Simmons said, and evaluations determined he is “a social drinker.”

Judge Mary Reece, a visiting judge from Howard County, said Mr. Barve cannot drink alcohol for a year and must attend a meeting sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He also had to pay about $250 in court fees.

Mr. Barve is among the most influential lawmakers in Annapolis. He was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1990. He has been majority leader since 2003 and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee.

He was arrested after pulling out of a parking lot in Gaithersburg at about 11:40 p.m. Nov. 29. Police also saw him cross a double line. When he was pulled over, police noticed a strong odor of alcohol and that the delegate’s eyes were bloodshot and watery.

Mr. Barve failed a field sobriety test, unable to maintain his balance. He reportedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.10. Maryland’s legal limit is 0.08.

As a delegate, Mr. Barve has been an advocate of stronger laws against drunken driving.

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